"Excellent performance of Jonson comedy"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 14/11/15

“The Devil is an Ass” produced by Mercurius, and running at The Rose Playhouse, is one of Ben Jonson’s lesser known comedies. Young devil Pug (Lewis Chandler) persuades Satan to send him down to London, in order to let him see how many Londoners he can corrupt. As it turns out, they need little help in that department. Fitzdottrol (Michael Watson-Gray) is content to allow Wittipol (Mony d’Inverno) a chance to woo Mistress Fitzdottrol’s wife (Beth Eyre) in exchange for an expensive cloak. Wittipol fails, but continues his attempt at seduction anyway. At the same time, Fitzdottrol is himself seduced by the fantastic schemes of crooked promoter Meercraft (Benjamin Garrison).

It’s not hard to see why “The Devil is an Ass” isn’t more well known. Indeed, the convoluted plot, involving mistaken identity and disguises, is hard to follow at times. However, some excellent acting means that it is enjoyable, even if you don’t get every twist and turn. Watson-Gray delivers a star performance as the greedy pantaloon, campily gloating at the prospect of riches and boasting of his new servant’s origins. It is also a joy to see Chandler’s utter bewilderment at a world that is worse than the place he departed. Designer Felix Trench and Director Jenny Eastrop use the site and some nifty lighting work to add a supernatural element.

Add Your review?

Have your say, add your review

Other recent reviews by Matthew Partridge
After The Dance
Strong revival of Rattigan's play by Matthew Partridge
The fatal eggs
Unsettles as well as entertains by Matthew Partridge
Hush now
Clever and original devised theatre by Matthew Partridge
Oranges & Ink
Entertaining slice of Restoration life by Matthew Partridge
Brilliant staging and excellent acting by Matthew Partridge